Juror Appreciation Day/Week/Month

We’ll be tracking some of the events around the country–or around the world, if we can find ’em–where courts take a moment to appreciate jurors. Baltimore’s trying to raise the bar on such events, as the Baltimore Sun reported:

Serve on a city jury and you could be eligible for a package that includes discount parking and a free soda (if you buy a sandwich). But wait, there’s more: You also will be feted in a citywide tribute called Juror Appreciation Week.

Jefferson County, Wisconsin had a more sedate but all-inclusive affair to celebrate the 27 jury trials that occurred in the previous year. The court invited

not only those who have previously served as jurors, their families and employers, but all citizens interested in the jury system to an open house celebration on September 22, 2010  from 1:00 -3:00 p.m. in Room 230 of the Courthouse.    Refreshments will be served.

Like revenge, we trust the refreshments were best served cold.

New York State is next up on the Juror Appreciation bandwagon this year. The Democrat and Chronicle got a little nostalgic, thinking back to the early days of jury by lot:

The office of the commissioner of jurors would periodically go through the list of Monroe County’s registered voters, picking every fifth name or so. Those people would be summoned to the courthouse to take a written exam and then be interviewed by the commissioner himself. The names of those deemed qualified to serve on a jury would then be written on small white ballots and placed in the drum — enough to keep upwards of 10,000 names inside it. And when a panel of jurors needed to be assembled, the wheel would be spun in a judge’s chambers, and names would be drawn at random. One by one.

Crazy stuff. God bless computers.

If you have a juror appreciation story you’d like to share, please do so. We share our own stories of jurors in our new book, The Jury and Democracy, which is tirelessly flogg on this site.


About jgastil

John Gastil is Head and Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, where he specializes in political deliberation and group decision making.
This entry was posted in Social/political impact of juries, Summoning juries. Bookmark the permalink.

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